essence Atkins
theGrio

Long before she was heating up the small screen on OWN’s steamy series Ambitions, Essence Atkins was a sitcom staple on shows like Half & Half and Smart Guy.

The actress got her start with a guest role on The Cosby Show, and credits Bill Cosby with setting her on the path to success.

“It was my very first audition. Mr. Cosby himself is one of the reasons that I am here. He really saw something in me and gave me an opportunity to be on the show and brought me back and then I later worked for him on another show called Here and Now, which was Malcom Jamal Warner‘s spin-off show.”

Although Bill Cosby is currently serving prison time for sexual assault and has been accused of numerous other crimes against women, Atkins’ experiences with him were nothing but positive.

“I had a perfectly lovely experience the entire time. I never had anything happen to me that he has been convicted or accused of so I am very fortunate in that sense. The hard part for me of what has happened is the disparity in which justice is dispensed when it comes to similar crimes and accusations,” she continues.

“We have people in positions of power right now who have multiple accusations of sexual assault and violence and they’re still enjoying the benefits of all that power and there is no consequence for them as of yet and that is the thing that is really disheartening for me. Let’s make justice indeed bling and let’s make sure there’s equality and equanimity in how we dispense justice.”

She also revealed the struggle to contend with the dynamic between men and women win Hollywood in light of the #MeToo movement. According to Atkins, the lines between socializing and securing opportunities in Tinseltown can be blurred pretty easily, creating precarious situations for women.

“When you’re an attractive woman and you get invited to be a part of mixer or go out and grab a drink and have a conversation and talk about future projects and working together; you want to say yes because you want to capitalize not he opportunity but you don’t necessarily do and if you do, it’s a very strange, (excuse my French) fu**ed up dance that you don’t know if it’s someone’s covert way of hitting on me or is this really an opportunity I would be foolish to walk away from. The dynamics get really muddy.”

Check out the full interview above.